LONDON, April 22 — Using simple and easily guessed passwords across various accounts is an exploitable gap in the British people’s online security habits, a British government study has found.
Many internet users did not know the best ways to protect themselves from cybercrime, with 23.2 million victim accounts worldwide using 123456 as password, according to a survey by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) released Sunday.
Only 15 percent of the survey’s 2,500 respondents say they know a great deal about how to protect themselves online and the lack of awareness is particularly prominent amongst older people, the survey said.
“Password re-use is a major risk that can be avoided,” NCSC Technical Director Ian Levy said, adding that “nobody should protect sensitive data with something that can be guessed, like their first name, local football team or favorite band.”
The survey said one in three (34 percent) rely to some extent on friends or family for help on cyber security, while older people aged over 65 are particularly reliant.
Some 70 percent believe they will likely be a victim of at least one specific type of cyber crime over the next two years, and most feel there would be a big personal impact.
“Using hard-to-guess passwords is a strong first step and we recommend combining three random but memorable words. Be creative and use words memorable to you, so people can’t guess your password,” Levy suggested.
Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington said that “given the growing global threat from cyber attacks, these findings underline the importance of using strong passwords at home and at work.”
The NCSC said it hoped to reduce the risk of further breaches by building awareness of how attackers use easy to guess passwords, or those obtained from breaches and help guide developers and system administrators to protect their users. – XINHUA